Bateta Vada Party!

August 18, 2008

It was during my non-blogging days that Anita of A Mad Tea Party had organized the puri-bhaji party. Though I did not send in my entry, I did end up cooking it at home after seeing so many different varieties pop up all over the blogging world. So when she announced yet another party..a Batata Vada party, I just couldn’t resist participating.

I won’t lie and say I hate deep fried food…unless of course it is literally swimming in oil, then I do! Both J and I love anything that is deep fried. But we make a conscious effort not to eat deep fried foods. We rarely deep fry anything at home. Main reasons being: 1. unhealthy 2. what a wastage of oil! I just don’t know what to do with the used oil and I hate to throw it in garbage. I remember my mom using that oil to cook various vegetables and dals over the next few days. However, we do not cook dishes that require oil that often. I would love to hear what you guys do at home with the remaining used oil.

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In my entire life I had only made bateta vada once. They tasted really good, but I never made them again because of the above reasons. However, I loved (still love) eating them every time mom made them. Just thinking about them would make my mouth water. When I explained to J about what we would be having for dinner, he was little bit skeptical…mainly because he did not know/understand what I was talking about. So I used the terms “deep fried potato sandwich”..which made him smile ear to ear! I made vada pav, which is easy once you have the vada all done. When we sat down for dinner, I could barely stop my self from chowing down the vada pav in one bite. J, who had it for the first time ever, loved it as well.  I hope y’all enjoy the gujju version of bateta vada! Happy Party’ing! 😀

Ta

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Recipe: Bateta Vada (Vada Pav)
(Makes 8 bateta vada)

Ingredients

3 medium sized potatoes (boiled)
2 green chillis
1 inch piece of ginger
3 tsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
salt per taste
1/2 cup besan (gram flour)
1/4 cup water (may vary per personal choice)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
8 burger buns
Oil for deep frying

Lasan (Garlic) Chutney

5 cloves of garlic
1/2 Tbsp red chilli powder (+ or – according to your taste)
salt per taste

Tamarind Chutney

1/2 Tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp jaggery
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt per taste

Method

For lasan chutney, grind garlic and salt together till you obtain a smooth mixture. Now add red chilli powder and grind till you get a thick, smooth mix.

For tamarind chutney, in a microwave safe bowl, add tamarind paste and jaggery and 1 tsp of water. Heat in the microwave for 40 sec. Stir the mix while melting the jaggery. Add salt and cumin to the tamarind-jaggery mix per. Add water as necessary for desired thickness of the chutney.

Grind ginger and green chilli together. In a bowl, mash the boiled potatoes. Add the ginger-green chilli paste, salt, lime juice, sugar to the mashed potatoes. Adjust the amounts of salt, sugar, lime juice according to your taste. Make golf sized balls of the mashed potatoes mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix besan, salt, red chilli powder, baking powder together. Add water while continuously mixing (to avoid any lumps) to get a thick batter.

Heat oil in a pan till it is piping hot. Take the potato ball and dip in the batter so that it is covered with batter evenly on all sides. Gently drop the battered potato ball in the hot oil and let it fry till light brown. Scoop it out of the hot oil and lay it on a plate covered with paper towel. Repeat the process till all the potato vadas are fried.

For vada pav, apply garlic and tamarind chutney on the inner side of a burger bun. Sandwich the vada between the bun and enjoy the sweet, spicy, fried goodness!


Zucchini Aloo Tikki

August 15, 2008

I am not a big fan of zucchini. The main reason being I just don’t know what to do with it. In one of our recent visits to the grocery store, I saw this huge, beautiful pile of zucchinis and I couldn’t resist buying them, and I never stopped to think about how I should cook them. A week went by and I kept ignoring the looks they gave me every time I opened the refrigerator. Finally, when I could take it no longer (I am sure they couldn’t either!) I took them out of the refrigerator and 20 mins later, I still did not know how to cook them! After looking what other ingredients I had on hand, I decided to try out zucchini tikki.

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Aloo was not part of the equation when I started prepping. However, I realized that zucchini needed something to help it bind in a tikki form. Hence, the addition of potato. I did not want to fry the tikkis for obvious reasons and baked them instead. Of course they did not look as pretty as they would have if they had been fried. But they were not bad..actually they tasted pretty darn good for a bland vegetable. I probably should have mashed the zucchini instead of grating, because it had kind of a stringy look..however no stringy texture. What a healthy way to eat your vegetable AND get a spicy kick out it ..what could you ask for more? 🙂

Ta

PS: I would love to hear your ideas on how to cook zucchini..somehow it just seems such a bland and boring vegetable. 😕

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Recipe: Zucchini Aloo Tikki
(Makes 6 tikkis)

Ingredients

2 medium sized zucchinis
1 potato
2 green chillies
1 small piece of ginger
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt per taste
pepper per taste


Method

Preheat the oven at 400 F. Boil the potato and finely grate the zucchinis. Grind green chillies and ginger together. In a bowl, add the boiled potato, grated zucchini, bread crumbs, green chilli-ginger mix, lemon juice, salt and pepper. If needed, add more bread crumbs to bind the tikkis.

Aluminum foil a baking pan and spray some oil over it. Place the tikkis and spray some olive oil over the tikkis. Bake the tikkis for 15 mins or unless they are lightly browned. Enjoy these with some ketchup or chutney!


“Ground Beef” & Ricotta Pesto Lasagna

August 13, 2008

When Sia of Monsoon Spice announced JFI – Soya, I did my little happy dance (with J rolling his eyes). The reason for my excitement was the fact that we eat soy “meat” almost every week. Without that, I do not know how J and I could co-exist … at least without losing our sanity. 😉

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For the dinner party last weekend I had the grandiose idea of making some lasagna, which of course I had never made before! I didn’t even know what ingredients to use for lasagna. But then I remembered seeing this at Meeta’s What’s for Lunch, Honey?. Both J and I, do not like mushrooms, so I thought of using the “ground beef” with some tomato sauce. Now, with the ingredients decided, the next challenge for us was to boil lasagna pasta. Neither J nor I had ever dealt with lasagna pasta sheets before that day. Thankfully we had a pot big enough to fit the pasta. Making (I mean boiling) pasta is almost always J’s job. I am too much of a klutz to handle hot water (that’s what he thinks). After J was done draining the pasta, I layered the lasagna and trust me this was the most fun part of the whole lasagna making process.

The lasagna tasted really good, with creaminess of pesto (Thanks Meeta!) and a slight tanginess from tomatoes. Everyone loved it and the fake meat did taste and feel like real meat. I cannot vouch for it, as I have not tasted meat ever. But judging from 4 people’s reaction, I guess it did taste like real meat.

Off this goes to:

1. Sia’s JFI – Soya event. Photobucket

2. Dee of Ammalu’s Kitchen – Herb Mania – Basil

3. DK of Culinary Bazaar’s AWED – Italiano

Ta

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Recipe: “Ground Beef” & Ricotta Pesto Lasagna
(Serves 6)

Ingredients

1 lb lasagna package
1 package Morning Star Meal Starters – Crumbles (Frozen 12 oz)
1 cup Marinara sauce for “meat” crumbles
2 cups additional Marinara sauce (I used Prego)
3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cup ricotta cheese (I used low fat)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese + extra for sprinkling over lasagna
4 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp melted butter
salt per taste
pepper per taste


Method

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

For pesto, add basil, garlic, pin nuts, olive oil, butter, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse till you get a creamy mix. In a big bowl mix the pesto and ricotta.

In a pan, heat the “meat” crumbles for about 2 mins. Add the marinara sauce to the pan and heat the sauce for 4-5 mins. Keep the mix aside.

Boil the lasagna pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta once its cooked.

To assemble the lasagna, butter a baking dish. Pour one cup of additional marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Lay 3 sheets of lasagna on the marinara sauce. Cover the lasagna sheets with ricotta pesto mix. Lay 3 more lasagna sheets over pesto and then layer with “meat” mix. Cover with more lasagna sheets. Continue the layers till all ingredients are used up and ending with final layer of lasagna sheets. Pour 1 cup of additional marinara sauce over the lasagna sheets. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the marinara sauce.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 mins. Uncover the baking dish and bake again for another 20 mins. Enjoy!


Grilled Peach Napoleon

August 11, 2008

Somehow on weekends we end up having late breakfast/brunch which messes up our whole schedule for dinner. This results of course in us being hungry by 4 pm..which further means that we are no longer hungry by dinner time…so what happens then? Same thing happened last Sunday. I wasn’t hungry for a heavy meal, but was in mood for something light. Additionally, I had two events to participate in. So to kill several birds with one stone, enters grilled peach with cardamom flavored mascarpone.

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I usually grill peaches and add a dollop of mascarpone cheese on top. But on Sunday I guess I had more time on my hands than I realized and went ahead to make perfect rounds of the peaches and decorating the dish. Not that any of it took much time.

The end result was sweet peaches with creamy cardamom mascarpone and so easy to make. I did not realize, but peaches and strawberries compliment each other very well. There are many alterations you can do with this recipe. I might try this with blueberries..or make blueberry mascarpone. Also, you can substitute cardamom with cinnamon. Yummy!

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This entry will go to:
1. Monthly Mingle – Grill It! started by Meeta of What’s For Lunch Honey? and hosted this month by Sig of Live to Eat. You can find all the previous Monthly Mingle round-ups on Meeta’s blog here.


2. Think Spice – Favorite hosted at Sunita’s World. With cardamom being my favorite spice, this recipe is perfect for this amazing event.

Ta

Recipe: Grilled Peach Napoleon
(Serves 2)

Ingredients

2 peaches (not too ripe)
4 Tbsp Mascarpone cheese
1/2 tsp honey
1 pod cardamom – skin discarded and seeds crushed
butter for brushing the grill
2 strawberries – thinly sliced

Method

In a bowl, mix mascarpone cheese, honey, and cardamom. Slice the peaches about 1/2 inch thick. Brush some butter over the hot grill. Lay the peach slices on the grill. Turn the peach slices over after 3-4 mins or after they are soft and have nice grill marks. Let them cook on the other side for another 3-4 mins. Once the peach slices are done, use a cookie cutter to make the perfect rounds. Let the peaches cool.

For assembly, lay one slice of peach on the plate and add a layer of mascarpone mix over the slice. Add another layer of peach slice and mascarpone mix. End with a slice of peach on top. Garnish with sliced strawberry.


Potato Dauphinois

August 10, 2008

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Me being a vegetarian was quite an adjustment for J’s family as much as it was for J and me. For every family gathering, everyone made sure that there was something for me to eat. And it was a big adjustment when you have 20-30 people in any given family gathering and only one is vegetarian. When I was not part of their life, it did not really matter what dish was vegetarian and what was not. They had heard of vegetraianism but not really dealt with it. So here comes a new addition in family who does not eat meat or fish. But they adjusted very qucikly. Everything they all did for me made me feel so lucky be part of this family…especially with my parents and sister being in India.

J’s granny is one of the sweetest person and the best cook I’ve ever known. Within the first few weeks of knowing me, she bought me a few vegetarian cooking books to make sure I got my protein. As I have said before, I did not cook that often, so never really got a chance to cook from the cookbooks. However, the other day I was browsing through one these books named Vegetarian: The Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook and saw the recipe for potato dauphinois. It seemed relatively easy and tasty….(Btw, all the recipes look great in this book).

I made this last night for a dinner party with few friends. Everyone really liked it and so did I. It was creamy, crispy with a tinge of garlic. It looked fancy as well. A perfect side dish.

Ta

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Recipe: Potato Dauphinois
(Adapted from Vegetarian: The Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook)

Ingredients

5 potatoes (approx. 2 lbs)
2 Tbsp butter (melted)
1-3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
salt per taste
pepper per taste


Method

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut side of the garlic around the insides of 12″ x 9″ baking pan. In a bowl, mix the heavy cream and milk together. Butter the insides of the baking pan. Preheat the oven to 325 degree F.

Start laying the potato slices in one layer. Pour a small amount of butter over the potato layer. Season the layer with salt and pepper. Pour some of the cream and milk mix over the potato layer. Follow the same steps to make additional layers of potatoes, till all the ingredients are used up, and end with a layer of cream and milk mix.

Bake the potatoes for about 1hr and 20 mins or till they are done. If the top of the potatoes start to brown too quickly, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Do not mix or turn the potatoes, as they might break.


Wickedly Good Brownies

August 8, 2008

As I mentioned in my last post, my mother-in-law was visiting us for a few days. One of her favorite desserts is brownie. J, who does not care for desserts (unlike me, give me anything sweet and I’ll gobble it down!), loves brownies. We have been married for 3 yrs now, and I have never had courage to bake brownies. Back then, oven for me was this shiny cool (and I mean literally!) piece of appliance to store some cast iron pans.

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But the new partisan cook in me jumped at the idea of baking brownies for both MIL and J. I searched high and low for a brownie recipe and when I saw Dorie Greenspan’s “French Chocolate Brownie”, my eyes sparkled. I knew this was THE recipe (which was very surprising having never baked them before).

My MIL’s sister, Aunt L, is an amazing cook. So when my MIL said “L would be so jealous.” I thought it was the biggest compliment I could get. 😀 The brownies were soooo chocolatey, almost like fudge. The crispy, crackly choclolate skin against the soft, moist, gooey interior ….was sooo good! If you like chewy brownies rather than fudgy, I think (gurus out there, please correct me if I am worng) you could increase the quantity of flour. Either way, this recipe is a keeper! Without further ado, here is the recipe. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as we did.

Ta

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Recipe: Brownies
(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “French Chocolate Brownie”)
(Makes 16 small pieces)

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar


Method

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil and set aside. Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter mix, mixing only until it is incorporated—you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares.

These taste great warm or cold!


Twisted Dum Aloo – Maybe?

August 5, 2008

Dum Aloo is my all time favorite dish. The spicy, sweet, creamy sauce with tiny potatoes swimming in it … ahhh! Divine! This is one dish I love cooking despite the effort and time it takes to prepare. I’ve made it a couple of times and every time I made it differently (because I didn’t know better!).

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The recipes that I found for authentic dum aloo required preparing of dum (dough used to seal a clay pot..this style of cooking was introduced by Mughals) and seemed quite time consuming and to tell you the truth, a little bit intimidating for a novice cook like me.  My mother-in-law is currently visiting us and I wanted to make a special meal for her. So, I decided to make dum aloo with the ingredients I had at hand..which of course meant that I cooked it differently than how I have in the past. One thing I did to save some time, was to make three different sauces the night before. So the next day after coming back from work, all I had to do was cook everything together.

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I am so glad that I cooked it differently! Because the sauce was spicy, creamy, with a slight sweetness and tanginess to it (from tomatoes). I think adding the cream to it gave that creamy and sweet texture to the sauce. The potatoes were crispy on the outside and really scrumptious from the sauce they had absorbed. Everyone loved it! From now on, I think I am going to stick to this recipe till I find some other way to cook 🙂

Ta

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Recipe: Dum Aloo
(Serves 4)

Ingredients

6 baby potatoes
1 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp kitchen king masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
pinch of asafoetida
Salt per taste

Green sauce
2 green chilies
1 inch sized ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 inch of cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 cardamom
1 tsp of cumin

Red sauce

4 medium sized tomatoes

White sauce
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion – chopped
1 Tbsp cashews


Method

Boil potatoes (not too soft) and skin them. Place the potatoes on a foil lined cookie sheet and spray them with a tiny bit of oil. Broil them for about 4 mins or till they are crispy on the outside. Be careful to not get them burnt. Turn the potatoes over and broil them for another 3-4 mins. Prick the potatoes with a toothpick or a fork.

For green sauce, mix all the ingredients using a food processor. Add a small amount of water to mix all the ingredients together. For red sauce, boil the tomatoes and cool them. Then puree the tomatoes and strain them for a smooth sauce. For white sauce, saute the onions in 1 tbsp of oil till they are cooked. Let the onions cool and in a food processor puree them along with the cashews.

Heat oil in a pan and add asafoetida. Once the oil is hot, add the green sauce and saute till slightly brown. Add the onion sauce and red sauce. Add all the other dry ingredients (red chili powder, turmeric, kitchen king masala, and salt). Cook the sauce with frequent stirring for another 8-10 mins at medium heat. Now add the cream. Cook for 2-3 mins. Do not boil the sauce. Cook at low to medium heat. Add the potatoes in the sauce and let them simmer for another 4-5 mins. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve with jeera rice or parathas!